The St. Louis Rams start training camp in just a few days. Huge sigh of relief that we're almost through the football doldrums. With the season just ahead, TST is going to provide another one of our semi-regular, sort-of-erratic series to get you ready, armed with a fight card of sorts with a look at the issues and questions facing the Rams as the prepare for the 2010 season. Today, we're starting up front, wondering who will emerge as the team's starting right guard.
Last year, Richie Incognito earned the job out of training camp and held on to it until his award-winning self control got him booted. This year, a trio of players will be competing for the job in training camp. Meet the candidates after the jump.
Right now, John Greco is the de facto starter. Greco, a third round pick in 2008, saw starting duty in the last two seasons filling in for Incogntio. An offensive tackle in college, Greco works best on the inside where his wide body and toughness matchup well with opposing defensive tackles. He has to establish himself in camp this year or he may never be anything more than a backup.
Hank Fraley is a nine-year veteran the Rams added in the offseason. He has a solid track record as a starter, at both the G and C position. Not to be overlooked is the fact that he's been consistently healthy throughout his career. Fraley's main job is a backup for C Jason Brown, but he could just as easily earn a starting job next to Brown.
Adam Goldberg played really well last season as a guard. I really think he did much better on the inside than as a backup OT, which is his primary role. I suspect the team will give him some consideration for the job; however, guys who can play four different spots on the OL have value all their own. Goldberg's shot at that position might depend on just how good the other backup OTs are.
Roger Allen III was a nice snag in the undrafted free agent grab following the 2009 draft. The former Missouri Western player made his season debut in week 17...and tore his ACL before the game ended. He has the raw tools to be a solid G, but needs a little seasoning. The Rams thought highly enough of Allen to maintain ties with him through the entire 2009 season.
One player who won't be in the competition for the RG job is Mark Setterstrom, who tore his triceps this spring and will most likely miss the entire season. Is there a more tragic case in the NFL? Setts has the tools to play, as he proved when earned a starting role as a replacement guard in his 2006 rookie season. It's been all down hill from there.
If I had to predict it right now, I'd say Greco gets the starting job. I'm also encouraged that the Rams have good depth at this position...if only we could get that at OT and RB.